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Can anyone recommend a US History textbook?

 
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gramourgal



Joined: 26 May 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 10:54 pm    Post subject: Can anyone recommend a US History textbook? Reply with quote

I'm teaching in a six-week summer intensive program. My students will be high-intermediate to advanced level and I'd like to use an ESL-friendly US History textbook, or a lower level native speaker textbook that might include some exercises. Any suggestions? The one I used to use is America Past and Present by Katherine Harrington, but it's out of print.

Thanks!
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Eric18



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 151
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:13 pm    Post subject: Several choices - but none perfect Reply with quote

While you have many choices, none may be perfect.

As the former director of an adult education center and longtime IEP teacher, I am going to offer some unconventional advice. Consider short excerpts from Ken Davis' excellent "Don't Know Much About History", selected four page readings from Past Imperfect: History in the Movies, and showing a handful of films. For instance, I'd be tempted to show both Glory and Gone with the Wind as dueling depictions of the American Civil War. Both films won academy awards and capture a distinct understanding of that war and its enduring legacy ... and students will be able to relate to both films in very different ways.

Bias confession: I find films an excellent introduction to history - and the book's format of a leading historian analyzing each picture quite useful. But IEP students might be less interested in history and America than immigrants and refugees seeking to join the national family. Still, both books contain many fine examples - and a solid intro to academic vocabulary. You will have to let them read the excerpts, however, for homework due to the difficulty of some passages.

If you just need a very low level overview of American history, the task becomes more difficult because of the superficial style of so many middle school and ESL textbooks. You might check out social studies school service catalogs for some free lesson plans and appropriate supplemental materials.

Good luck .... and don't forget the movies!
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PatJewett



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I taught just the opposite type of class last summer - a group of prisoners taking the class just to get out of their cells for a change of pace. I was scared and they were not motivated. I tried to give them a lot of practical application (it was a basic math class). A few of them might have learned a little, but it was not a great experience for me.

___________
Pat J
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Eric18



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 151
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:33 am    Post subject: Recognizing limits Reply with quote

Student motivations matter, and the situation you describe could frustrate the most dedicated, patriotic teacher.

Sometimes we have to recognize the limits to our power to influence, let alone inspire, students to appreciate history. Your class, alas, seems to fall into that difficult category.

Better luck with your next class.
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